2009-03-12 / News

Planning Commission continues to debate construction in Jamestown Shores

By Sam Bari

The Planning Commission was reluctant to give a stamp of approval at its March 4 meeting to potential construction in the Jamestown Shores area.

The panel was asked to recommended to the zoning board the plans for a house in the Jamestown Shores on a high groundwater table and impervious overlay district in Sub-District A.

The application by Bert Spencer for relief from Zoning Ordinance Section 314 to build a house on a High Groundwater Table and Impervious Overlay District in Sub- District A was extensively debated by the commissioners at its Jan. 21 Planning Commission meeting. The commissioners ran out of time and the matter was continued to the March 4 meeting.

During the January meeting, commissioner Richard Ventrone said that the plans for the "socalled two-bedroom house with two-bedrooms and a den on the second floor" thinly disguised a three-bedroom home. He said that any professional could convert the den into a third bedroom complete with a walk-in closet in less than a day.

Commissioner Nancy Bennett agreed with Ventrone and suggested that Spencer submit plans for a smaller two-bedroom dwelling.

Commissioner Barry Holland said that the plans met the criteria for a two-bedroom home because the proposed den did not have a closet. He also said that it was not within the authority of the commission to assume that the applicant would in fact, make inappropriate alterations to the design after the house was built.

However, Holland did question the amount of fill required and Town Engineer Michael Gray found discrepancies in the water testing that gave him concern.

At last week's meeting in a summary letter from Mr. Bassam Nader, American East Engineers, who represented Spencer, said they had addressed all of the issues regarding the site work, extended the rain garden, and adjusted the grades. He said that they were "here this evening to receive the planning commission's recommendation to the zoning board to grant the application."

After further discussion, the planners agreed to make a recommendation for approval to the zoning board with provisions. The commissioners agreed to continue the matter to the March 18 planning commission meeting where they will vote on the findings of fact.

In other business:

• Attorney John Murphy agreed to the release of $5,773 and an additional $6,000 being held in bond until the landscaping is completed at his client's, Manning Subdivision, Upland Farm property on Cedar Lane. The commission voted unanimously to approve.

• Commissioner Jean Brown spoke about the last meeting of the Parking Committee that was recently dissolved with other committees by the Town Council. Brown said that 25 residents, who are not politically minded people, turned out to discuss the town parking issues and challenges. Brown praised the committee and said it was a good and productive group that gave sound recommendations to the Town Council. She said that she regretted that the duties of the parking committee were being assigned to town staff.

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